Greece is a religiously plural society that is accommodative of many religions. The Ministry of Education and Religion is responsible for the licensing of different groups. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion which is highly influential in several aspects of the society. There is increasing diversity as the responsible authorities have made the process of licensing religious activities relatively easy.
Religious Beliefs In Greece
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox is the dominant religion constituting 92% of the Greece population. The Religion had its origins from the schism that occurred between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Their disagreement was on issues related to the celibacy of the priests, Holy Communion, and the wording of the Creed. The control of the Pope of the Eastern Patriarchs was also part of the dispute. The division left the Eastern Church outside the control of the Pope. It is the dominant religion that is officially recognized in the constitution.
Even though the country is officially secular, Orthodox Christianity is recognized as the prevailing religion. The church enjoys a privileged position for the role it played in the preservation of the nation during the rule of Ottoman. It also played a critical role during the fight for independence. The Orthodox Church worked towards the maintaining their culture, language, and lifestyle from infiltration by other cultures. Its incomes are exempt from tax, in addition, the government pays for the salaries of its clergymen at a rate comparable to that of the civil servants. The government has continued to work towards the spread of the religion by making the Greek Orthodox instruction mandatory for all students in their primary and secondary education. Exemptions can only be granted to them at the formal request by both of the student’s parents. The church remains very influential in the Greek society.
The country has a growing number of atheists who constitute 3% of the population. They have a registered association by the name The Atheist Union of Greece. A considerable number of the irreligious Greeks have not subscribed to it for fear of personal identification on issues of personal faith.
It constitutes 3% of the population. The Muslim community in Greece is mainly of Turkish origin. At such a small fraction of the population, they are a minority and hardly ever influence the course of events in the society.
Other Beliefs In Greece
There are other religious groups in the Greek society, and they constitute 2% of the population.The indigenous Catholics are found all over Greece but especially in the Cyclades and Ionian Islands. Massive migration into the country in the recent past has increased their number to about 200000. Greek Catholicism is the other minority religious group in the country constituting about 5000peopel who are found mainly in Athens. The Ministry of Education and Religion have also reluctantly given the permission to Pentecostal Churches to operate in the country. The procedure is becoming easier compared to the olden days.
The Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the largest congregation with hundreds of churches.Other religions in Greece include Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism among others. The Greece government is continuously allowing for religious pluralism through the enactment of laws aimed at enabling their operation. For example, in 2006, it passed a law that allows for cremation which is a religious practice done by the Hindus. The law was lauded by the Indian community that is mainly found in Athens. Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and Scientologists are the other small religious groups in the country. Some of them number just a few hundreds.
Impact Of Religion In Greece
The society is highly religious compared to the other European countries. The belief in Supernatural being capable of influencing their destinies inspires their deep devotion to religion. The government has officially maintained a distinction between the state and church although the prevailing church enjoys distinct advantages over others.
Religious Beliefs In Greece
|Rank||Belief System||Share of Population in Greece|
|1||Eastern Orthodox Christianity||92%|